Flexible Energy Supply in UK: More Than 300 MWM Gas Engines in Distributed Power Plants Secure Stability of the National Power Grid
Mannheim, April 21, 2022
In the UK, the expansion of renewable energies – which already account for more than a third of the country’s power supply – is picking up. However, eco-friendly PV or wind power also involves potential grid instability, as sunshine and wind are not available constantly. To solve this problem, the UK government established the short-term operating reserve (STOR) in 2014, a plan meant to ensure grid stability in the UK in the long run.
Fast and Flexible Power Supply in Distributed Power Plants with Gas Engines
The objective of the short-term operating reserve is to establish a power plant reserve that can be ramped up in a flexible way whenever more power is needed at short notice. For this, gas power plants, some of which run with MWM gas engines, are being set up in the UK. The engines in the power plants are started several times a day for a short period. On average, a gas engine in this kind of power plant can achieve up to 1,000 starts a year. The operating time amounts to less than 2,500 hours a year.
For the UK, it is vital to be able to balance any fluctuations in the power grid independently, as the demand cannot be readily covered with power from neighboring countries. In Germany, for example, sudden demand peaks can be covered with electricity imported from neighboring countries such as France, Belgium, or the Netherlands. However, thanks to its distributed power plants, the UK is able to cover its power demand in the event of availability fluctuations independently, thereby stabilizing the power grid.
More Than 300 MWM Gas Engines Producing Power in UK Power Plants
Together with Edina, the official MWM distributor for the UK and Ireland, MWM has successfully rolled out various STOR projects in recent years. “Usually we deploy the 20-cylinder gas engines of the TCG 2020 and TCG 3020 series”, says Lars Brzeski, Sales Manager Western EU & AMEI at Caterpillar Energy Solutions GmbH. “These are the largest MWM gas engines that are suitable for containerization.” To date, more than 300 MWM gas engines with a total output of more than 600 MW have been installed in UK power plants and serve the stabilization of the grid. Moreover, the engines of MWM’s largest series, the TCG 2032, have also been used for various flexible power generation projects in the UK. For example, two MWM TCG 2032 V16 gas engines in an underground cogeneration power plant generate heat and power for the district heating project “London Citigen”. The Citigen project is part of a joint energy project for efficient, inexpensive energy production and reduction of carbon emissions.
Edina has also rolled out a flexible distributed power generation project for the independent power producer (IPP) Conrad Energy in the UK. The new gas power plant, which has been in operation since 2020 with 10 MWM TCG 2020 V20 gas engines, is used to secure the power supply in the event of fluctuations in the national power grid. Thanks to the flexible operation of the power plant, any demand and supply fluctuations are easily balanced on the spot.
Caterpillar Energy Solutions supplies the MWM gas engines for the STOR projects from Mannheim to the UK, where MWM distributor Edina mostly installs these in containers and sets them up at the customer locations as turnkey power plants. For the past 35 years, Edina has been rolling out distributed low-carbon power generation projects and has already won multiple awards, such as the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and numerous awards from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) in recognition of its innovativeness and energy efficiency. With their powerful MWM gas engines, Caterpillar Energy Solutions and MWM distributor Edina promote the optimization of the power generation in the UK and Ireland in order to be able to balance spontaneous fluctuations in the power grid speedily and effectively on a long-term basis.
- MWM Gas Engines and Power Gensets
- MWM TCG 2020 Gas Engine
- MWM TCG 3020 Gas Engine
- MWM Cogeneration Power Plants
- MWM Services
- MWM press release: Visionary District Heating Project “Citigen” within the Heart of London: Largest CHP Plant in UK Supplies Local Distribution Network of the Business and Financial Metropolis with Energy from MWM TCG 2032 V16 Gas Engines
- MWM press release: Flex Power Plant for Conrad Energy with 10 MWM TCG 2020 V20 Gas Engines Ensures Grid Stability through Flexible Reserve Balancing Generation